Hamburg scientists believe that the climate target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels is unrealistic. "Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is currently not plausible," says a statement from the University of Hamburg on the "Hamburg Climate Futures Outlook 2023".
For the study, around 60 social and natural scientists in an interdisciplinary team examined ten social, climate-relevant factors. These include UN climate policy, climate protection legislation, protests, social movements, transnational initiatives, court cases, consumer behavior, the withdrawal of investments from the fossil fuel economy, knowledge production and the media.
A lot was in motion. But above all the behavior of consumers and companies is slowing down the urgently needed climate protection, it said. "The necessary comprehensive decarbonization is simply taking place too slowly," explained the head of the Cluster of Excellence "Climate, Climate Change and Society" (Cliccs), Anita Engels. Decarbonization means reducing carbon emissions. According to the authors, the media also behave ambivalently: sometimes they support the goal of a CO2-neutral society, sometimes they undermine it.
The scientists consider the physical processes such as the loss of Arctic sea ice, the melting of the ice sheets and the regional climate changes to be serious. "However, they have little influence on the global average temperature up to 2050," says the statement.
Social change is crucial. But that's not enough so far. The state investments to mitigate the consequences of the Corona crisis and the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have strengthened the dependence on fossil fuels. "If we miss the climate targets, it becomes all the more important to adapt to the consequences," said the social scientist Engels.